Tag Archives: Beauty

What are you doing with your time?

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What are you doing with your time?

(J.R. Miller)

“Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise — making the most of the time” Ephesians 5:15-16 

Our days, as God gives them to us — are like beautiful summer fields. 
The hours are like trees with their rich fruit, or vines with their blossoms of purple clusters. 
The minutes are like blooming flowers, or stalks of wheat with their golden grains. 

Oh the endless, blessed possibilities of our days and hours and minutes — as they come to us from God’s hands! 

But what did you do with yesterday? How does the little acre of that one day look to you now? 

What are you doing with your time? Every moment God gives you, has in it a possibility of beauty or usefulness — as well as something to be accounted for. 

Are you using your time for God?

“Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life!” Psalm 39:4 

“Hope, Yet No Hope. No Hope, Yet Hope”

“Hope, Yet No Hope. No Hope, Yet Hope”

Charles Spurgeon

Most people are not seeking to escape from the wrath to come, they are busy in worldly things while hell is near them. They are like idiots catching flies on board a ship which is in the very act of sinking!

We see many people busy about their bodies, decorating themselves, when their soul is in ruin. They are like a man painting the front door, when the house is in flames! Men are in a restless pursuit after satisfaction in earthly things.

They will hunt the purlieus of wealth, they will travel the pathways of fame, they will dig into the mines of knowledge, they will exhaust themselves in the deceitful delights of sin, and, finding them all to be vanity and emptiness, they will become very perplexed and disappointed.

But they will still continue their fruitless search.

Though wearied, they still stagger forward under the influence of spiritual madness, and though there is no result to be reached except that of everlasting disappointment, yet they press forward with much ardor.

Living for today is enough for them– that they are still alive, that they possess present comforts and present enjoyments, this contents the many.

As for the future, they say, “Let it take care of itself.”

As for eternity, they leave others to care for its realities; the present life is enough for them.

Their motto is, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

They have no forethought for their eternal state; the present hour absorbs them.

Carnal minds pursue with all their might earth’s vanities, and when they are wearied in their pursuit they but change their direction, and continue the idle chase.

They turn to another and another of earth’s broken cisterns, hoping to find water where not a drop was ever discovered yet.

The Habit of Encouraging Others

The Habit of Encouraging Others

J.R. Miller

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory!” 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12

In one of her books Miss Mulock tells of a gentleman and a lady walking one day in a lumber-yard beside a dirty, foul-smelling river. The lady said, “How good these pine boards smell!” “Pine boards!” sniffed her companion. “Just smell this foul river!” “No, thank you,” the lady replied, “I prefer to smell the pine boards.” She was wiser than he.

It is far better for us to find the sweetness that is in the air, than the foulness. It is far better to talk to others of the smell of pine boards, than of the heavy odors of stagnant rivers.

Yet too many people seem ever to have an instinct for the unpleasant things. They never see the beauty — but they always find the disagreeable. They have no eye for the roses — but they are sure to find even the smallest thorn. They never discuss the good qualities in those about them — but they instantly detect the faults.

It is a far nobler thing when one has learned to find the things that are lovely and good and true in those about one — and to be blind to the blemishes and defects. It is a pitiful waste of time and strength for one engaged in Christian work, for example, to do nothing but look for mistakes or imperfections in that which others are doing. It is far wiser to devote one’s life and energy to doing good in a positive way.

We do not have to answer for other people’s mistakes. We are not set to be judges of other people’s motives. The only true Christian course is to do our own part as well as we possibly can, having charity meanwhile for all about us who are engaged in the work of our common Master.

It shows a very narrow spirit to have nothing but evil to say of those who are working alongside of us in the same vineyard. Very likely they are quite as holy as we are, and are doing their work quite as well as we are doing ours. But if they are not, our sin in watching them with unkindly eye is worse than any ordinary mistake in their service could be.

We are told that once the disciples criticized very sharply another friend of their Master’s, calling her way of working a wasteful way. But we should not forget that it was Judas who led in this criticism and faultfinding, and that Jesus severely rebuked the censorious spirit in his disciples and spoke in warmest defense of the gentle woman who had done what she could.

We should train ourselves, therefore, to the utmost patience with those who work beside us in the service of the same Master. We should seek to encourage them in every possible way. There may be faults in their method — but, if so, the Master will look after these, and certainly it is no part of our duty to judge, to find fault, to condemn.

We are likely to overlook the unlovingness of this spirit of criticism and fault-finding. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another,” said the Master himself. Love implies not only patience with the infirmities of others — but also readiness to help them and to work with them in all kindly, sympathetic ways. Love sends us forth to be helpers of each other — not hinderers; encouragers — not discouragers.

It is very easy for us to go forth any day and make life harder for every person we meet. We do this when we assume a superior air, when we relate ourselves to others only as a critic, a fault-finder.

The worst of all heresies is the heresy of unlovingness. We understand the spirit of the gospel of Christ only when we get its thoughtfulness, forbearance, gentleness, into our life. We begin to be like Christ, only when in us is born the desire to be of use to everyone we meet. Many people go among others, however, bearing the name of Christ — yet lacking the spirit of Christ. Instead of making life easier for those among whom they mingle — they make it harder! They say discouraging things. Even when they imagine they are giving comfort — they are only adding to the burden of sorrow.

Some good people go into sick rooms, with true sympathy in their heart and desire to do good — but only add to the pain of those they would help.

Job’s three friends, the suffering and bereft man found to be “miserable comforters.” Scarcely any better comforters are many of those who come to people in these days as messengers of consolation. They go over all the sorrow, opening the wounds afresh — instead of saying cheerful, uplifting, inspiring things which would have made the sad hearts braver and stronger.

Shall we not train ourselves to speak only kindly words, to say only encouraging things, to give only cheer? It is a great thing to live so that everyone who meets us shall be a little happier, with a little more courage for life’s struggles, and with new hope in the heart. Words of encouragement and good cheer are better than angels’ visits to those to whom they are spoken.

Thackeray tells of an English nobleman who always carried his pocket full of acorns as he walked over his estate, and whenever he found a bare spot he would plant one of these. So should we carry with us ever a heart full of loving thoughts and impulses, and whenever we find a life that is sad, discouraged, or defeated — we should drop a seed of kindness which by and by will grow into something beautiful.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

True beauty is not of the face…but of the soul!

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“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears the LORD shall be praised!” Proverbs 31:30

Every girl is a lover of beauty. Beautiful homes, beautiful furnishings, beautiful flowers, beautiful clothes, beautiful faces — anything wherein beauty is found, there will be found girls to admire it. From the time her little hands can reach up, and her baby lips can lisp the words, she is admiring “pretty things.” And when a little of that beauty is her own — her pleasure is unbounded.

Every girl longs to be beautiful. There is in woman a nature, as deep as humanity, which compels her to strive for good looks. There is no more forlorn sorrow for a young girl, than for her to be convinced that she is hopelessly ugly and undesirable. Oh, the bitter tears that have been shed over freckles, or a rough and pimply skin — and the energy that has been expended in painting and powdering and waving and curling herself into beauty!

A desire to be beautiful is not unwomanly. But, mark it: true beauty is not of the face — but of the soul! There is a beauty so deep and lasting, that it will shine out of the homeliest face and make it lovely! This is the beauty to be first sought and admired. It is a quality of the mind and heart — and is manifested in word and deed.

A happy heart,
a smiling face,
loving words and deeds, and
a desire to be of service —
will make any girl beautiful!

A beautiful soul shining out of a homely face — is far more attractive than a beautiful face out of which looks a soul full of selfishness and pride!

Let your chief charm be of heart and mind — not of face and form. Seek the true beauty which lasts even into old age!

Solomon, in one of his wise sayings, expressed plainly the evil that comes to a woman who is beautiful of face, but lacks the true beauty of soul: “Like a gold ring in a swine’s snout — is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion!” Proverbs 11:22. As the swine would plunge the golden jewel into the filth and the mire as he dug in the dirt — so will a pretty woman who is not godly, drag her beauty down to the very lowest.

There are many peculiar temptations to those who are only lovely of face. Without true beauty of soul — a pretty face is a dangerous gift!

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight!” 1 Peter 3:3-4

(Mabel Hale, “Beautiful Girlhood” 1922)

Made For Spirituality

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“Made for spirituality, we wallow in introspection. Made for joy, we settle for pleasure. Made for justice, we clamor for vengeance. Made for relationship, we insist on our own way. Made for beauty, we are satisfied with sentiment. But new creation has already begun. The sun has begun to rise. Christians are called to leave behind, in the tomb of Jesus Christ, all that belongs to the brokenness and incompleteness of the present world … That, quite simply, is what it means to be Christian: to follow Jesus Christ into the new world, God’s new world, which he has thrown open before us.”

N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense

Planting Seeds

Growing Strong B W

 ⇧ Photo taken with iPhone 5s ⇧ 

The image above is a photo i’ve just taken of a mystery plant (i’m not sure what it is?) that was grown from a random seed that was given to each of us who attended our evening service about 2 months ago. Richard (one of our Ministers) was preaching about the sower and during the talk gave us a seed to hold and think about what beauty could lie within even though it seems like a dead seed at the moment. He then asked us to plant it when we got home and just see what happens. As i was playing guitar during the service, i just put the seed into one of my many pockets in my cargo shorts. By the time i got home i totally forgot it was there. It wasn’t until about a week later when i remembered and hoped it was still there, it was and Sarah & i quickly planted it into it’s own little pot.

After 4 weeks there was still no sign of life and just a pot filled with soil……..then overnight (to our amazement) it seemed to just shoot up and this is how it’s getting on now after about 5 weeks! 🙂

 Parable Of The Sower

Matthew 13:3-23 The Voice 

3 And so Jesus began to teach. On this day, He spoke in parables. Here is His first parable:

Jesus: Once there was a sower who scattered seeds. 4 One day he walked in a field scattering seeds as he went. Some seeds fell beside a road, and a flock of birds came and ate all those seeds. 5 So the sower scattered seeds in a field, one with shallow soil and strewn with rocks. But the seeds grew quickly amid all the rocks, 6 without rooting themselves in the shallow soil. Their roots got tangled up in all the stones. The sun scorched these seeds, and they died. 7 And so the sower scattered seeds near a path, this one covered with thorny vines. The seeds fared no better there—the thorns choked them, and they died. 8 And so finally the sower scattered his seeds in a patch of good earth. At home in the good earth, the seeds grew and grew. Eventually the seeds bore fruit, and the fruit grew ripe and was harvested. The harvest was immense—30, 60, 100 times what was sown.

9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Disciples: 10 Why do You speak to the people in parables?

Jesus: 11 The knowledge of the secrets of heaven has been given to you, but it has not been given to them. 12 Those who have something will be given more—and they will have abundance. Those who have nothing will lose what they have—they will be destitute. 13 I teach in parables so the people may look but not see, listen but not hear or understand. 14 They are fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy:

You will listen, but you will not understand;
you will look, but you will not see.
15 The people’s hearts have turned to flab;
their ears are clogged;
their eyes are shut.
They will try to see, but they will not see;
they will try to hear, but they will not hear;
they will try to understand, but they will not comprehend.
If they, with their blindness and deafness, so choose, then I will heal them.

16-17 Many holy prophets and righteous men and women and people of prayer and doers of good have wanted to see but did not see, and have wanted to hear but did not hear. Your eyes and ears are blessed.

18 This is what the parable of the sower means. 19 It is about the kingdom of heaven. When someone hears the story of the Kingdom and cannot understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away whatever goodness and holiness had been sown in the heart. This is like the seeds sown beside the road. 20-21 You know people who hear the word of God and receive it joyfully—but then, somehow, the word fails to take root in their hearts. It is temporary. As soon as there is trouble for those people, they trip: those people are the seeds strewn on the rocky soil. 22 And you know people who hear the word, but it is choked inside them because they constantly worry and prefer the wealth and pleasures of the world: they prefer drunken dinner parties to prayer, power to piety, and riches to righteousness. Those people are like the seeds sown among thorns. 23 The people who hear the word and receive it and grow in it—those are like the seeds sown on good soil. They produce a bumper crop, 30 or 60 or 100 times what was sown.

Our Father in heaven plants many seeds in order to ensure that some seeds bear fruit. The final harvest, however, is worth any amount of hard work.

Be Joyful & Do Good

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Ecclesiastes 3:9-15 The Voice

What good comes to anyone who works so hard, all to gain a few possessions? I have seen the kinds of tasks God has given each of us to do to keep one busy, and I know God has made everything beautiful for its time. God has also placed in our minds a sense of eternity; we look back on the past and ponder over the future, yet we cannot understand the doings of God. I know there is nothing better for us than to be joyful and to do good throughout our lives; to eat and drink and see the good in all of our hard work is a gift from God. I know everything God does endures for all time. Nothing can be added to it; nothing can be taken away from it. We humans can only stand in awe of all God has done. What has been and what is to be—already is. And God holds accountable all the pursuits of humanity.

The contrast between God and humanity could not be starker. The teacher drives this point home by reminding his reader that human lives and earthly accomplishments are fleeting. Nothing tangible is permanent. No work lasts. It all slips away and vanishes into thin air. Compare that to God. Everything God does is substantial. Everything God accomplishes lasts forever. Every word God speaks makes a difference. And so, God places within every person a sense of eternity to know yet not understand Him. This world with all its goodness and beauty is not as good as it gets. There is more, so much more, and we are made for that reality too. But not now, not yet.

Everlasting Life

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John 3:16-21 The Voice

For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction.

No one who believes in Him has to fear condemnation, yet condemnation is already the reality for everyone who refuses to believe because they reject the name of the only Son of God. Why does God allow for judgment and condemnation? Because the Light, sent from God, pierced through the world’s darkness to expose ill motives, hatred, gossip, greed, violence, and the like. Still some people preferred the darkness over the light because their actions were dark. Some of humankind hated the light. They scampered hurriedly back into the darkness where vices thrive and wickedness flourishes. Those who abandon deceit and embrace what is true, they will enter into the light where it will be clear that all their deeds come from God.

Jesus makes the point clear: stay connected to Him, and have no reason to fear. Jesus doesn’t mean that at the instant someone has faith, fear simply vanishes or only good things happen in that person’s life. In fact, the blessings that come with eternal life often have nothing to do with present or future circumstances, but they have everything to do with the individual’s connections to God and others. That is John’s message to his listeners. God came to earth embodied in flesh, and then He reached His greatest acclaim through a torturous death. If this is all true, then believers will find strength and beauty in places never imagined. Abiding in Jesus the Anointed is the good life, regardless of the external circumstances.

In His Hands

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Those who put themselves in His hands will become perfect, as He is perfect- perfect in love, wisdom, joy, beauty, health, and immortality. The change will not be completed in this life, for death is an important part of the treatment. How far the change will have gone before death in any particular Christian is uncertain.

C. S. Lewis

Incredible Beauty

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We give thanks this morning for the incredible beauty of this day, for the magnificence of life, and for our own individual potential still untapped. As we reflect on these blessings, we praise God for the good signs in our own lives- good signs of the past and good signs ahead.

Richard G. Capen, Jr.


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